Fastes de cour & cérémonies royales

European court costume 1650-1800 at the Château de Versailles

For the first time, an exhibition has been dedicated to the fashions of the great European monarchies from the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th century. Presented at the Palace of Versailles, for which it was exclusively curated, this exhibition brings together more than 200 works, including royal pomp and ceremonial costumes, jewellery and jewels, as well as paintings depicting court scenes. "The golden age of court costume was under Louis XIV," explains Karl Lagerfeld, "Versailles is therefore the most ideal and magical place to exhibit fashions from a world and a lifestyle that are impossible to imagine today."

This exhibition, created with the patronage of CHANEL, will be held until June 28th, 2009.


Jerry hall

Interview with Karl Lagerfeld

Why have you chosen Jerry Hall for this 2009 Spring-Summer accessory brochure?
KL: I have known Jerry Hall since she was 15 and have always loved her "sumptuous" and generous side. I love her skin, her complexion, her hair, her overall allure.

Is this the first time you have photographed her? Do you have other projects you are working on with her?
KL: I had photographed her a long time ago, at the beginning of my career as a photographer and have always kept in touch with her. Today I also photographed her for the cover of a book about her.

Claudia Schiffer, Christie Turlington and now Jerry Hall, how are these supermodels from the 80s and 90s so emblematic of feminity?
KL: These are women with strong personalities. They do not have a problem with age time, life or the evolution of fashion. And that is what I love about them.

Why do you like the writer Colette?
KL: For me, Colette epitomizes the French writer and woman writer "par excellence".

Why are you inspired by "Chéri"? There were already references to this novel in "Karl Lagerfeld: 7 Fantasmes of a Woman". What does this novel evoke for you? Why take up this theme of a mature woman with a younger man again?
KL: Oscar Wilde said: "I like men who have a future, women who have a past" (The Picture of Dorian Gray). It is this whole idea of seduction that is summarized here that appeals to me. One of a very young man fascinated and attracted by what a woman does: her wardrobe her perfume, her movements, her allure, etc, etc.

For what reason(s) did you choose Baptiste Giabiconi for "Chéri"?
KL: In reading the first page of the book and the description of the character, we understand that Baptiste is the portrait of Chéri. He is also the most promising male model at the moment.

Where were the photos taken?
KL: In a studio where we reconstructed the bedroom of a woman, a courtesan.

What does photography bring to you? For what reasons have you chosen this medium of expression?
KL: I love images in general and making images, be photography, sketching, design, publishing or others.


Chéri, a novel by colette

This novel, written by Colette in 1920, is part of Karl Lagerfeld's literary collection. The book is a great source of inspiration for the pictures in the 2009 Spring-Summer Accessories Catalogue, which portrays a woman (Jerry Hall) and her much younger lover (Baptiste Giabiconi). 'Chéri tells the story of Léa de Lonval, a former courtesan who, approaching fifty, falls in love with a young dandy, Fred Peloux, going by the name 'chéri'. The son of a rich courtesan, this handsome young man of 25 lives surrounded and pampered by eccentric and liberal demi-mondaines, typical of the 1920s. Idle and narcissistic, he lives six years of passion with this glamorous woman, who passes on all her experience to him. He then leaves her to wed Edmée, the very young daughter of a rich friend of his mother’s. The passion and disillusionment of this short story portrays a certain social milieu of the Paris 'Belle Epoque' — a milieu well known to Colette and Mademoiselle Chanel during those carefree years.


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